My favorite part of the holiday season is driving around and seeing homes and shops decked out wonderful displays of light: All white, multi-colored, static light, twinkling lights, and moving lights. Last night as we were driving over the hill to my husband’s company party, we passed a white truck covered in strings of lights. It was wonderful and the owner of the truck enjoyed our happy reaction as much as we did.
What I don’t like, of course, is the traffic, having to stalk people for their parking spots, long lines at the grocery stores and department stores, and well, pretty much everywhere I go. But, even though I grump and groan about it all, it’s still the best time of year because somehow, all this holiday madness still tends to bring out the best in people. We give more to charity. We go out of our way to spend more time with our families. And, in my experience, we’re just generally nicer and more friendly to our fellow human beings.
I think it has something to do with those lights I love so much. Jesus birth is celebrated in December because that was the early church’s best guess. We know the date is not accurate, but it is appropriate because it is believed Jesus Christ is the light of the world and what better time to bring light into the world than in the middle of winter.
Pre-Christian pagans who suffered through long, dark, cold winters often had mid-winter celebrations. One important aspect of those celebrations was to encourage the Sun with it’s life giving warmth and light to return in the Spring. It was also a reminder that the Sun had always returned and as long as we keep faith in that, we can survive the longest, darkest night of the year. So, what better way to enjoy the month of December than by decking our halls with light, no matter what your religious beliefs happen to be.